Metro's ride free zone will end as dozens of route changes take effect



SEATTLE - Changes affecting nearly a quarter of Metro Transit bus routes will begin Saturday.


After 40 years, the Ride Free zone, stretching from Belltown headed north and to Pioneer Square on the south, will be eliminated on Saturday.


Bus riders will be required to pay on entry and exit by the rear of the bus for all trips in King County.


Metro said while paying on entry may add to the time it takes to board the bus, it will standardize the procedure, be less confusing for riders and speed up the deboarding process.


One of the myriad of changes beginning Saturday is the start of RapidRide C and D lines, five new routes, two renumbered routes, 17 discontinued routes and changes to more than 50 other routes.


The new RapidRide lines will provide more frequent, faster service for those in West Seattle and Ballard, according to Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond.


For the first few days, Metro will have guides throughout downtown to help people get on and off the bus more quickly.


The minimum payment to board a bus is $2.25.


According to officials, fare evaders cost Metro $4 million a year.


Transit police will issue a $124 fine to passengers who do not pay their fare.


On Friday, new schedule information and custom printable timetables will be available on Metro Online and trips can be planned online as early as Sept. 19 with Metro's Trip Planner.


Get information on all of the service revisions that begin Saturday.